Bridge the gaps: Strengthening public health through primary care collaboration and funding innovation

February 23, 2024

Bridging Gaps: Strengthening Public Health through Primary Care Innovation and Funding Reforms

In a January 2024 Milbank Quarterly opinion piece, Connecting Public Health and Primary Care: The Prevention and Public Health Fund Redux, authors Marianne Udow-Phillips, Samantha Iovan and Peter D. Jacobson take a look at the critical role of primary care in bridging the gap between public health and medical care, as emphasized by longstanding funding disparities which were particularly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Quarterly opinion piece urges a reevaluation of funding priorities and points toward innovative state-level models that leverage primary care to strengthen the public health infrastructure and promote robust population health goals.

As the authors explain, “The lesson from these models is that primary care and public health can and must work together to address the complex challenges of public health. However, primary care practices alone cannot be the leader in addressing community health. Primary care practices must have community partners, especially local public health, for population health goals to be fully realized.”

The article proposes leveraging the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) to bridge funding gaps and strengthen the connection between primary care and public health.